Richmond restaurant owner Shane Thomas will be on television for the second time this year, this time on “Chopped,” the competitive cooking show on the Food Network.
Thomas is the owner of Southern Kitchen restaurant in Jackson Ward and, if her name is familiar, it’s because Thomas and the restaurant were on “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back” in February. The “Chopped” episode was filmed first, though.
“It was back in December,” Thomas said. “I filmed it in New York. They keep it under wraps until it’s ready to run.”
So Thomas knew she would be on television for “Chopped” when her episode with Gordon Ramsay aired earlier this year — but she couldn’t talk about “Chopped” until she got the OK from the Food Network, which came this month.
In the middle — between shows — Thomas, like every other restaurateur everywhere — has been doing her best to weather the pandemic and its effects on her business.
“I always put forth the effort to be as positive as I can, with all that said — I’m thankful I’m still standing,” Thomas said. “More than 30 restaurants have closed [in Richmond], as you know, so I’m thankful. I’m not making a profit, I’m not whistling Dixie, but I’m alright.”
Thomas credits her customers and the appearance on Ramsay’s show with helping keep the restaurant afloat.
“My business ... it increased by 75%,” Thomas said. “[Gordon Ramsay] told me it would. It didn’t last long, though!”
The show aired Feb. 11 and just over a month later, dining rooms across the state were shuttered to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
In fact, Thomas only recently reopened for dine-in, this month.
“We are COVID-ready,” she said. “I put every possible safety measure in place.”
Thomas is also TV-ready and excited to see the episode of “Chopped” she filmed nearly a year ago.
“It was a ton of fun,” she said. “Exhausting, challenging — and it was an honor to be selected to be a part of that show.”
The episode of “Chopped” featuring Thomas is called “Fries and Thighs” and airs Tuesday at 9 p.m.
Southern Kitchen is at 541 N. Second St. in Jackson Ward.